Planning a trip to Australia in 2023? Here are 7 of our top tips to make the most of your time down under and make it stress free!
Travel is back on the cards again and the East Coast of Australia is welcoming back heaps of travellers from all over the globe again – and to say the last few months has been busy is a bit of an understatement!
So if you’re planning a trip to Australia in 2023 we’ve got a few tips and pieces of advice to help make everything a bit smoother for you, especially if you’re heading to Australia soon!
Planning A Trip To Australia In 2023? Our Top Tips!
1) Pre book your main tours (especially if you’re travelling in high season)
The biggest issue many travellers are having at the moment (espeically if you’ve travelling within the next few months) is the fact a lot of tours are booking out weeks in advance.
In fact we’re recommending booking them in at least 4-6 weeks in advance where possible – so don’t expect to turn up in Rainbow Beach or Airlie Beach and jump on a trip in the next few days!
Day trips are still a bit more flexible, but getting them locked in at least a week in advance is certainly going to make everything a lot smoother for you.
2) Have a realistic budget
One of the biggest mistakes we’re seeing people making at the moment with their planning is expecting to do everything on a shoestring. Unfortunately Australia isn’t as cheap to travel as spots like South East Asia and prices for the 2023 season are certainly not the cheapest they’ve ever been either.
So don’t expect to smash out all the main bucket list ticks on the East Coast, including a private room for a month for $2,000 – it just won’t happen!
As a guide we recommend around $4,000 for a month long East Coast trip – which will include dorm accomodation, most of your meals, bus pass, and the top tours.
3) Research your route
Another big mistake people have is not checking out where all the trips and destinations are and ending up with a really muddled route.
Generally speaking if you can start or finish in Cairns, Sydney or Melbourne things will run the smoothest as it’s a nice continuous trip up or down the coast between those spots.
You can link together some other route with internal flights, but a little bit of research on Google Maps can make the flow of your trip much nicer.
4) Consider a working holiday visa
Want to really make the most of your time in Australia and top up your travel funds along the way?
Why not come over on a working holiday visa?
You’ll then have up to 24 months to stay, play and enjoy Australia whilst being able to get a job along the way too. So whether you want to work in a cafe, become a dive instructor or maybe even gain some work experience for your chosen career, it’s a great option to look into.
And alongside the working holiday visa option, is the advice that if you can help it don’t try and rush your trip.
You’ll have a much more enjoyable experience spending 4-6 weeks in Australia than trying to pack it into 2 weeks, where you’ll spend most of your time on buses between locations rather than soaking up everything Australia is famous for!
We get that some people can’t have the time off or have the budget for a longer trip (which is why we’ve put together an epic 2 week Australia itinerary) but honestly the longer you have, the better the experience!
6) Chat to our travel experts (we’re here to help!)
We might be a little bias, but we reckon one of the best things you can do is chat to the team here at RTW Backpackers!
We’ve helped thousands of travellers make the most of their Aussie adventures and we’re here to give you honest, unbiased advice. We know, because we’ve travelled the East Coast heaps of time testing out the best tours and accomodation.
Unlike some big travel companies we’re not driven by commission levels or sales targets – we just want you to have an epic trip!
…and the most important thing – Enjoy Yourself!
Yup, the most important thing you can do is make sure you enjoy your trip. Australia is a stunning country, filled with incredible destinations and experiences, so make sure you do it your way and do all the things you’re heading down under to see and do!
So what makes the Working Holidayer super flexible?
Well, whilst most Greyhound Bus Passes are limited by the time frame of the pass, the Working Holidayer offers 30 days of travel within a 3 month time period – making it ideal for those on a working holiday visa who want to stop off en route and top up their travel funds.
Not only that but it comes bundles with $200 worth of travel vouchers for a range of Queensland travel experiences too!
So what are the key features of the Working Holidayer?
30 Days Travel in 3-months with a $200 discount code to use on Queensland tours and experiences
An exclusive pass product available only to Working Holiday Visa Holders
One way travel from Melbourne, Canberra, or Sydney to Brisbane.
Unlimited travel on Greyhound Australia services in Queensland with a choice of 111 different destinations with our services covering over 6,000 kilometres within the state (that’s roughly the equivalent of three return trips between London and Berlin)
The 30 Days of travel are non-consecutive i.e. they can be used at any point within the three months
24/7 access to book a seat on a coach in real time
Perfect for those that like to plan, but also those that like to take each day as it comes
No cost to change dates or destinations, with no limit on the amount of changes that can be made
So if you’re heading to Australia on the Working Holiday Visa and want the most flexible way to travel along the East Coast the Working Holidayer is a great choice, espeically when paired up with our East Coast Essential Tours Package!
There's plenty to keep you busy in Airlie Beach - from the Whitsunday Islands to snorkelling, here are the best things to do in Airlie Beach.
Airlie Beach is always a firm favourite when it comes to stops along the East Coast of Australia and it’s hard to narrow down the best things to do in Airlie Beach!
Obviously the biggest draw is the world famous Whitsunday Islands, but there’s plenty of other incredible things to do during your stay in Airlie Beach – here are 16 of our favourites…
The Best Things to Do in Airlie Beach, Australia | 16 Top Activities
Scenic Flight Over Heart Reef
Price: AUD 265
This flight over the coral formations is an astonishing thing to do during your stay in Airlie Beach. A highlight is a heart-shaped reef best seen from a helicopter or seaplane window. You’ll see numerous white-sand beaches and coral formations while travelling over the Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef.
Limited to only five passengers, a flight over Heart Reef is an intimate experience you won’t soon forget.
Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef
Price: AUD 279
A scenic cruise past the Whitsundays archipelago takes you 39 nautical miles offshore from Airlie Beach for a fantastic diving experience next to the Great Barrier Reef. The technicolour coral and diverse marine life remind us of the beautiful world beneath the ocean surface. Plus, your fare contributes to the protection of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
Don your snorkel and mask and explore the Great Barrier Reef during a group trip. If you prefer scuba diving, you can arrange to spend a longer time beneath the surface.
Price: AUD 319
If you have an affinity for adrenaline and extreme sports, you may feel like skydiving in Airlie Beach. The tandem skydives take place from an altitude of 15,000ft and reach speeds of up to 220 kilometres per hour. You’ll maintain freefall for 60 seconds before spending 5-7 minutes making your way to a safe landing. You’ll have a unique view of the land below during this time. The instructors are qualified, and the experience is incredibly safe. You have nothing to worry about, despite what you may feel before jumping from a moving plane.
Visit Hill Inlet Lookout
Location: Northern end of Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island, Australia
Price: AUD 197
Whitehaven Beach has picturesque white sands and calm turquoise waters perfect for swimming. The Hill Inlet Lookout gives you a lovely vantage point from which to admire the shades of blue at this beautiful beach. It is located on Whitsundays Islands and is only accessible by boat and a short 1.3km return hike.
This is one of the most beautiful things to do from Airlie Beach, and thanks to the changing tide, the patterns in the water change daily. Keep an eye out for goannas, and remember to stick to the paths.
Jump on an Overnight Sailing Adventure
Price: AUD 975
A handful of commercial and private charters are available for an exhilarating overnight sailing adventure. You can visit Whitsunday Island and Hill Inlet Lookout during two full days spent on the water. The Whitsunday Getaway is a standout catamaran offering overnight adventures with four private cabins and en suite loos.
Spending two days snorkelling, exploring, and living at sea is an experience you won’t soon forget.
Chill by the Lagoon Swimming Pool
The Airlie Beach Lagoon is a great swimming pool to cool off in after a walk along the boardwalk. When the ocean is rough or the jellyfish are present in the water, this can be the best place to swim in Airlie Beach.
The pool is 4,300 sqm and has shaded areas nearby, perfect for a lazy day at the oceanside.
Walk on the White Sands of Whitehaven Beach
Price: AUD 125
The sand on Whitehaven Beach is so fine you’ll hear it squeak beneath your feet. It is, however, more interesting as the sand here consists of 98% silica (quartz) and is the reason for the beach’s bright white colour.
Stroll along this seven-kilometre long beach while sinking your feet into the sand and walking through the warm water along the shore. You can reach Whitehaven Beach via ferries, yachts, and power boats that offer day trips from Airlie Beach.
Set Off On A Jetski Safari
Price: AUD 113
A two-hour jet ski experience from Airlie Beach will leave your adrenaline pumping and your diary filled with stories of the coral and marine life. This safari takes you past coves and beaches as you follow your guide to Whitsundays Island.
While moving across the water surface, you’ll get glimpses of the turtles, whales, and dugongs that call the area home.
Stroll the Bicentennial Walkway
Stroll along the Bicentennial Walkway, which runs 3.9 km along the coastline and the wharf. It is a comfortable setting in which to exercise, as demonstrated by the many locals who use this path. As mentioned above, it leads to the Airlie Beach lagoon, the perfect place to cool off.
Hike to Honeyeater Lookout
The Honeyeater lookout is a scenic highlight of an 8km round trip from Airlie Beach. While the hike is moderate, it does have steep sections and takes 3 hours. Fortunately, the impressive views towards the harbour make it worth the effort.
As with all outdoor activities, packing the right gear and water is essential. Remember to check the weather prediction to ensure you hike in pleasant conditions. While sticking to the path, keep an eye out for kookaburras, ospreys, and herons.
Whitsunday Great Walk in Conway National Park
Price: Free on foot
The Whitsunday Great Walk is a hiking trail called the Conway Circuit, which covers 27 km from Airlie Beach to the Forestry Road car park inside the Conway National Park. The park extends south from Airlie Beach and offers camping, hikes, mountain biking, and fishing.
Staying in a campervan or tent here is a tranquil experience. The area is the birthplace of the Birri-Gubba Nation, who are the traditional custodians of the land. When visiting, it is important to act respectfully by keeping this area’s cultural and ecological significance in mind.
The outstanding natural diversity is visible in the variety of plant and animal life present. If you are a lucky twitcher, you can tick off two of Australia’s mound-building birds, the Australian brush-turkey and the Orange-footed scrubfowl.
Lions Airlie Beach Markets
This community market is the ideal thing to do in Airlie Beach on a Saturday morning. Starting from 7 am, the food stalls and local craftspeople set up shop along the Airlie Esplanade.
The market is a great place to meet with friends for a coffee and a bite to eat. Things begin to wind down at midday, leaving you plenty of time to tackle other activities.
Private Tuk-Tuk Tour
Price: AUD 30
For a small fee, you can rest your feet while you are guided through Airlie Beach on this pedal-powered tour. The private nature of the tour means you can choose from a variety of options to suit your interests, including a tour focused on food or simply a sunset ride.
From the Port of Airlie to the Coral Sea Marina, your guide will share with you the best things to do in Airlie from a local’s perspective.
Take a Trike Tour of Airlie Beach
Price: AUD 55
You’ll be hard to miss while travelling through town on this custom trike. The shiny chrome, yellow paint, and deep rumble of the engine make this tour a stand-out experience. While cruising around Airlie Beach, your guide will impart knowledge of the area via a Bluetooth headset.
If you enjoyed your trike tour around Airlie Beach, consider the three-hour tour to Cedar Creek Falls in the Conway National Park.
Try Your Hand at Fishing
Price: AUD 165
Whether you are a seasoned angler or you simply want to cast a line to sink into your holiday spirit, Airlie Beach offers excellent areas for fishing. Heading out with a fishing guide will help you navigate where to go, what tackle to use, what bait to bring, and the recreational fishing rules.
While it is possible to bring your rod to attempt fishing from the beach, the added adventure of a boat trip makes a fishing charter worth it. You can expect to catch coral trout, mackerel, and queenfish. Best of all, you can have your catch of the day cooked for you at a local restaurant.
Hold on Tight for a Jet Boat Ride
Price: AUD 82
If you don’t mind getting wet, this 30-minute jet boat ride is an adrenaline-pumping way to spend a day in Airlie Beach. Performing 180s, 360s, drifts, and power stops, the captain ensures everyone on board is having bucket loads of fun. You can expect humorous commentary on this tour as it is less formal. In addition, you’ll receive GoPro photos from the camera on the front of the boat. If you want to bring your camera, make sure it is waterproof. You can lock other belongings in a dry small storage box onboard.
Looking for the best things to do in Brisbane? From food experience to koalas, here are 10 awesome ideas to suit every travel budget
If you’re heading along the East Coast of Australia, then a stop in Brisbane is a great way to break up the journey from Northern NSW to Queensland – there are so many awesome things to do in Brisbane.
And it isn’t quite as famous as its counterparts of Sydney and Melbourne, there is still plenty to keep you busy – so we’ve put together the best things to do in Brisbane for every budget.
The Best Things To Do in Brisbane | 10 Activities & Attractions For Every Budget
Go Sightseeing on a River Cruise
Price: From AUD 33
There are many great ways to discover the east coast of Australia. If you’re in Brisbane, don’t miss out on the opportunity to explore the city on a river cruise.
The Brisbane River runs right through the heart of the city, and a cruise down the river is the perfect way to see the city from a different angle. Along the way, you’ll pass many of the city’s landmarks that make up the Brisbane skyline, such as the Story Bridge.
There are numerous cruises to choose from, like the 1.5-hour sightseeing cruise where you can learn more about Brisbane’s history and hop on and off to explore some of the city’s attractions.
If you’re looking to enjoy a longer ride, some cruises serve a lavish high tea, lunch, or dinner.
Hang Out in the South Bank Area
Wheel of Brisbane: From AUD 19.95
The South Bank Area is the original site of the World Expo that was held in Brisbane in 1988. It is one of the most diverse areas in the city. Here you’ll find plazas and promenades lined with restaurants and excellent shops.
South Bank is also one of the best areas to cool off on a hot Brisbane day. It’s home to Streets Beach, a man-made lagoon and beach area directly opposite the CBD. You can also take a leisurely stroll under the shade of many trees in the Epicurious Gardens.
While you’re in South Bank, don’t miss out on the opportunity to enjoy a thrilling ride on the Wheel of Brisbane. This enormous ferris wheel soars above the city, and you’ll get a bird’s eye view over Brisbane.
Climb the Story Bridge
Price: From AUD 99
Built during the Great Depression in the 1930s, the Story Bridge is one of Brisbane’s most iconic landmarks. After the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb, the Story Bridge Climb is one of the most popular adrenaline activities in Australia.
The Story Bridge Climb caters to people of all fitness levels who are 10 years of age and older. The thrilling two-hour climb takes you 80 metres above the Brisbane River. The reward for this nerve-wracking adventure is uninterrupted views of the city.
Enjoy a Feast of Food at the Eat Street Northshore
Price: The entry fee is $5
If you’re looking to go on a culinary adventure around the world, then Eat Street is the perfect place to start. Just 15 minutes away from the Brisbane CBD, Eat Street has over 70 stalls, including five themed bars, shops, and small restaurants.
Here you can try cuisine from around the world while enjoying live entertainment. You’ll also find unique food variations like Japanese pizza and a mac ‘n cheeseburger. Eat Street has something for everyone, even the fussiest of eaters.
Stroll Around the Brisbane Botanic Gardens (Mount Coot-Tha)
Price: Free entry
The Brisbane Botanic Gardens on Mount Coot-Tha is one of the top subtropical gardens in Queensland. It’s best known for its stunning Tropical Display Dome.
You can enjoy a guided tour of the gardens and learn about its history and the different tropical plants. Alternatively, you can also take a self-guided tour and discover the beautiful Japanese garden and one of the largest collections of Australian rainforest trees in the world.
If you’re looking to cool off, you can enjoy a picnic under a shady tree or grab a bit at the Botanic Gardens Cafe.
Visit the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Price: From AUD 49
Have you ever wanted to cuddle with Australia’s cutest animal? Well, then be sure to visit the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.
Here you’ll be able to enjoy interactive programmes with these adorable furry creatures and also learn more about them and their environment. While koalas are the star of the show, you’ll also see other Australian animals like dingos, wallabies, and wombats.
Learn About Local Aboriginal Culture at the Spirits of the Red Sands
Price: From AUD 99
If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about Australia’s indigenous Aboriginal people, you can do so through the exciting Spirit of the Red Sands storytelling experience.
The Spirits of the Red Sands was launched in 2017 and is the first-of-its-kind experience that gives visitors insight into the history and resilience of the Aboriginal people and the Queensland region.
You’ll be able to meet the elders of one of the Aboriginal tribes, enjoy a welcoming ceremony, and participate in local customs. If you book an evening experience, you’ll get to enjoy a meal and theatre performance.
Visit the Museums & Galleries in the Cultural Centre
Price: Free admission
Situated on the banks of the Brisbane River, the Cultural Centre in South Bank is an excellent place for a fun-filled day out. Here you’ll find an extensive collection of museums, galleries and performance venues.
You can check out the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, where you’ll find world-class exhibitions and displays and even free film screenings. You’ll also find the State Library of Queensland and Queensland Museum & Science Centre.
If you have time, you can enjoy a comedy show, ballet or opera show at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre.
Enjoy a Day Trip to Moreton Island
Price: From AUD 129
Moreton Island is a short 75-minute ferry ride away from Brisbane and is the perfect place to escape the busy city vibe.
Here you can lay around on the pristine white sand beaches or snorkel and dive around the island’s crystal clear waters. You can even feed dolphins at the Tangalooma Island Resort.
Other activities that you can enjoy on the island include sea kayaking, quad biking and whale watching during the short whale season.
Discover Brisbane on a Bicycle
Price: From $69
If you’re looking for a scenic way to explore Brisbane, you might enjoy a guided bicycle tour through the city. Discover some of the city’s local gems with a guided, leisurely paced bike tour.
You’ll get to discover the city from a local’s perspective, learn about Brisbane’s history, and discover some of its cultural attractions. For a truly memorable experience, book the Twilight Tour.
You’ll get to see the city come to life as the sun sets over the Brisbane River and watch as the city’s skyline starts to take shape.
After being shut to international arrivals since March 2020, Australias Prime Minister has announced the country will reopen to select visa holders from 1st December 2021! So what are the key things you need to know and should you start booking your flights?! Australia Reopens 1st Dec 2021! In a press conference on 21st Nov 2021, Prime Minister Scott Morrison outlined the next steps on Australia border policy as the country hit a 85% vaccination rate - which included the news travellers all over the world had been waiting for - Australia will be reopening for tourism! Amongst the visas no longer need a travel exemption, 3 key visas were included, covering tourism in Australia: Working Holiday Visa (417) Work and Holiday Visa (462) Student Visa (500) What Else Do You Need To Know? As with many other parts of the world reopening for tourism, there are a few other things you'll need to sort before travelling to Australia: Vaccinations You'll need to be fully vaccinated to enter Australia, with a vaccine approved by the TGA Visa Approval Times Whilst you might be stoked to book your flight ASAP, you also need to keep in mind that the processing times on these visas is much longer than usual, with the 417 taking around 85 days, or the 462 around 90 days processing time. ...so don't book your flights quite yet! Quarantine & State Borders Currently only New South Wales, Victoria and Australian Capital Territory are quarantine free on arrival, with other states still having mandatory quarantine for up to 2 weeks. Also, at the moment, there are still restrictions on interstate travel as well - so make sure you keep up to date with those restrictions as you plan your trip too. Pre Travel Checklist You'll also need to
After being shut to international arrivals since March 2020, Australias Prime Minister has announced the country will reopen to select visa holders from 1st December 2021!
So what are the key things you need to know and should you start booking your flights?!
Australia Reopens 1st Dec 2021!
In a press conference on 21st Nov 2021, Prime Minister Scott Morrison outlined the next steps on Australia border policy as the country hit a 85% vaccination rate – which included the news travellers all over the world had been waiting for – Australia will be reopening for tourism!
As with many other parts of the world reopening for tourism, there are a few other things you’ll need to sort before travelling to Australia:
You’ll need to be fully vaccinated to enter Australia, with a vaccine approved by the TGA
Visa Approval Times
Whilst you might be stoked to book your flight ASAP, you also need to keep in mind that the processing times on these visas is much longer than usual, with the 417 taking around 85 days, or the 462 around 90 days processing time.
…so don’t book your flights quite yet!
Quarantine & State Borders
Currently only New South Wales, Victoria and Australian Capital Territory are quarantine free on arrival, with other states still having mandatory quarantine for up to 2 weeks.
Also, at the moment, there are still restrictions on interstate travel as well – so make sure you keep up to date with those restrictions as you plan your trip too.
Pre Travel Checklist
You’ll also need to make sure you have the following documents all sorted before you board your flight:
Trying to figure out the best things to do in NSW? From skydiving to koalas, here are 15 of our New South Wales favourites!
On the hunt for the best things to do in NSW and make the most of what New South Wales has to offer?
With so many awesome places to explore and heaps of activities to choose from, narrowing it down to our favourite 15 was a tough call – but here are our highlight for any NSW travel plans…
The Best Things to Do in NSW, Australia | Top 15 Activities & Attractions
1. Visit the Sydney Opera House
The Sydney Opera House is undoubtedly one of the most recognisable landmarks in the world. When planning your Sydney Itinerary, be sure not to miss out on the opportunity to visit this iconic performance theatre.
You could stand outside and take pictures by the Opera House’s steps. But, if you really want to experience the magic of this building, then taking a tour of it is the best option. The Sydney Opera House offers several daily tours that allow visitors to explore the impressive interior and exterior of the building.
Price: Tours for adults range between $43 AUD and $295 AUD per person. On the other hand, tours for children start at $21 AUD per person.
2. Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb
Seeking an adrenaline rush? Well, then climbing up the 134 meters (440ft) Sydney Harbour Bridge might just be the thing for you.
Since 1998, Bridge Climb has been taking visitors on tours of this marvellous bridge and has guided over four million visitors across its arches. Some of these include big-name celebrities like Prince Harry and Oprah Winfrey.
There are various climbing tours available lasting between 2.5 to 3.5 hours and are available at various times of the day. Be prepared to experience 360-degree panoramic views of Sydney.
Price: Tours start at $304 AUD for adults and $149 AUD for children.
Locations: Byron Bay, Hunter Valley, New Castle, Sydney, Wollongong.
If you’ve ever wanted to conquer your fear of heights, then there’s no better way of doing it than by leaping out of a plane 15000ft in the air.
Skydive Australia offers some pretty exhilarating skydiving adventures across some of the best places in Australia. These include the likes of Sydney, New Castle, Wollongong, Hunter Valley, and Byron Bay.
From the lush vineyards of Hunter Valley to the incredible coastline of Byron Bay, the landscapes of NSW do not disappoint. So, gear up, take a deep breath and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime.
Price: Trips start at $269 AUD per person.
4.Blue Mountains Trip
Location: From Sydney
The Blue Mountains are a rugged region located 50km (31 miles) west of Sydney. This area is known for its dramatic scenery made up of canyons, waterfalls, rainforests, and valleys.
The region is home to the Blue Mountains National Park, near the town of Katoomba. The park has amazing panoramic views of Jamison Valley, an abundance of hiking trails, and the Three Sisters (a sacred Aboriginal site).
You can explore this area on your own with a self-drive tour and stop at the many lookout points and small towns to take in the breathtaking sceneries.
If you’re looking for a guided tour of the Blue Mountains, you can check out The Coast Warriors Tour. This tour visits some of the area’s top sites like Echo Point and Wentworth Falls.
Price: The Coast Warriors tour is $99 AUD per person.
5. Learn to Surf
Location: Bondi Beach, Byron Bay, Crescent Head, Seven Mile Beach, Yamba.
If you’ve ever dreamt of learning how to surf, then NSW is one of the most exciting places to learn. Some of the world’s best surfing spots can be found here, including the world-famous Bondi Beach.
Just one day is sufficient for you to learn the basics of surfing. But if you’re looking to perfect your wave riding skills, you can choose a multiday experience with Spot X Surf Camp that will take you from Sydney to Byron Bay.
Price: One Day surfing lessons start at $69 AUD, and longer surf camps start at $815 AUD.
6.Byron Bay Lighthouse Walk
Location: Byron Bay
On Australia’s most easterly point sits the iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse, offering extensive views across the Pacific Ocean. While there are many activities that you can enjoy at the lighthouse, nothing beats the Byron Bay Lighthouse Walk.
This 3.7km hike leads you through the lush rainforest and across clifftops and a pristine beach to reach the lighthouse. If you prefer a more leisurely walk, the hiking trail can be accessed at various points and walked in shorter sections.
Price: Free. However, an $8 AUD per hour parking fee has to be paid at the Cape Byron Conservation Area or Palm Valley car park.
Location: Nimbin, day trip from Byron Bay
Nimbin is a colourful village located in the northern areas of NSW, 70km (43 miles) west of Byron Bay. It is known around the world as Australia’s hippie and alternative lifestyle capital and has also been recognised for its environmental initiatives.
If you’re looking for a place to relax, then Nimbin is the perfect place to rejuvenate and become one with nature as it’s located near five national parks.
8. Visit a Koala Sanctuary
Location: One Mile, West Pennant Hills, Port Macquire, and more.
If you’ve ever wanted to get up close and personal with one of the cutest animals in the world, then be sure to head over to a koala sanctuary. There are several sanctuaries in NSW that provide a unique opportunity to see these indigenous Australian animals in their natural habitat.
One sanctuary you can visit is the Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary, which takes care of sick, injured, and orphaned koalas and supports their rehabilitation and conservation in the wild.
Price: $25 AUD for adults, $14 AUD for children (children under three enter for free), and $82 AUD for a family pass (two adults and two children).
9. Bondi to Coogee Beach Walk
One of the best things to do in Sydney is the Bondi to Coogee Beach Walk, a 6km walk along the city’s eastern suburbs.
The walk features stunning views, beaches, parks, cliffs, rock pools, and much more. In total, there are 15 places of interest where you can stop to admire your surroundings or learn about Sydney’s history.
You can also stop for a swim at one of the beaches or grab a bite at one of the nearby cafes or restaurants.
Price: Free, but it will cost you $2.49 AUD to purchase the Bondi to Coogee Map and about $8 AUD per hour for parking.
10. Explore Lord Howe Island
Location: 700km northeast of Sydney
If you’ve ever dreamed of escaping to a beautiful private island, then consider taking a trip to Lord Howe Island, which sits just off the coast of NSW in the Tasman Sea.
The Island is every nature lover’s dream with an abundance of colourful marine life, lush rainforests, and tropical birds.
There’s plenty to do on the Island too, including snorkelling in the pristine waters of the Lord Howe Island Marine Park, kayaking, and hiking.
Price: Theonly way to reach Lord Howe is by a two-hour flight from Sydney, which will cost you about $481 AUD for a one-way ticket with QantasLink.
11. Relax in Yamba
Location: Yamba, NSW
Yamba is a coastal town located at the mouth of the Clarence River on the north coast of NSW. It’s the ideal place for a family holiday at any time of the year, and there’s something to do for everyone.
From shopping at the farmer’s market to tanning on the beach shores and indulging in fresh seafood, there’s plenty of activities to do in Yamba.
A road trip up the east coast of NSW is always a firm favourite. With over 2000km of coastline, an abundance of national parks, and the coolest cities and towns, you’ll never be bored. Spend your days experiencing thrilling and adventurous activities like surfing, hiking, wine tasting, and even skydiving.
No matter what you’re into, you’ll most certainly find something to do in this friendly state.
Location: Julian Rocks, Seal Rocks, Jervis Bay, and more.
NSW has several great diving locations such as the Solitary Islands Marine Park, where you can jump in and discover the area’s marine life. Be sure to keep an eye out for turtles, rays, leopard sharks, and Wobbegongs.
Price: Scuba diving tours usually start at around $215 AUD.
14.Wine Tasting in Hunter Valley
Location: 120km (75 miles) north of Sydney
If you’re looking to get a taste of some of the best Australian wine, then look no further than Hunter Valley. The valley is Australia’s oldest wine-growing region dating back to the early 1800s.
Hunter Valley is known for producing Semillon and Shiraz and boasts more than 150 cellars. Most of them have restaurants where you can enjoy exquisite cuisine expertly paired with local wines.
Whale watching season in Australia lasts from June to November with tours running daily.
Along with spotting whales, you’ll also get to see dolphins and other marine life. On some tours, you’ll also get a hydrophone to listen to the whales. If you’re lucking enough, you might even catch a Humpback whale breaching.
There are 38 vantage points around Sydney where you can spot these majestic animals. The Cape Byron Lighthouse in Byron Bay is a popular spot to catch a glimpse of them.
Cheapest option = Arts Factory Lodge and Belongil Fields
Closest to the beach = Suffolk Beachfront Holiday Park or Reflections Holiday Park
Best Location = First Sun Holiday Park
Best for backpackers = Arts Factory Lodge
Biggest range of facilities = Discovery Parks Byron Bay
Broken Head Campsite
Distance from Byron town centre = 8.6km
Camping Pitches from: $34
Powered Campervan pitches from: $39
The furthest campsite from Byron Bay town itself, Broken Head is about a 15 minute drive out of town, but I’ve included it on the list as it’s an awesome option for those who dont want to be based in the Bay, or another great stop just before you hit Byron Bay
Situated on the stunning beach of Broken Head you’ll be a short stroll from the sand and waves here – which include both a beach break and point break.
It’s a beautiful place to chill out for a few nights, soak up the nature of Broken Head Nature Reserve as well as enjoying some scenic coastal walks and beach time!
Undercover BBQ areas
Small on site shop
Suffolk Beachfront Holiday Park
Distance from Byron town centre = 6.1km
Camping Pitches from: $40
Powered Campervan pitches from: $40
Situated in the suburb of Suffolk Park, this Byron Bay campsite puts you about a 10 min drive from the centre of town. However Suffolk Park itself has all the facilities you’ll need – including bars, shops and a few restaurants.
Suffolk Beachfront Holiday Park is exactly that – beachfront! With it’s own private access to the beach you can enjoy some epic time on the sand and for surfers there are plenty of fun peaks to enjoy across this long stretch of coast.
In fact you can head out and walk right all the way to Broken Head or left all the way up to Tallows and the Byron Lighthouse!
Another great option for those who dont want to be directly in Byron Bay but still want all the beach vibes.
Modern camp kitchen
Undercover dining area
Red Devils Camping
Distance from Byron town centre = 3.3km
Camping Pitches from: $
Powered Campervan pitches from: $
Just a 5 minute drive into the centre of town Red Devil Campground it actually part of the rugby club.
To be honest out of all the options on the list value wise this isn’t the best as facilities are limited and the setup is pretty basic.
For a few extra dollars a night you can get a much better setup at a Bryon Bay campsite in the centre of town!
Ingenia Holiday Park
Distance from Byron town centre = 3.8km
Camping Pitches from: $30
Powered Campervan pitches from: $30
A great value option packed with facilities, Ingenia Holiday Park is just a 5 minute drive into the centre of Byron Bay and even has a public bus stop right opposite it so you can easily explore everything Byron has to offer.
The campsite itself boats everything from a large swimming pool to kids playground, wellness centre and even a skate ramp – making it ideal for everyone from families to backpackers.
A short 5 minute walk from the main campsite (which offers both powered and unpowered sites and even en suite pitches) is Tallow Beach – miles of sand to explore and as you would expect from the area heaps of fun surf spots too.
On site cafe/restaurant
Moden camp kitchens
Discovery Parks Byron Bay
Distance from Byron town centre = 2.5km
Camping Pitches from: $22
Powered Campervan pitches from: $37
A favourite amongst a range of travellers – from families to backpackers – Discovery Parks Byron Bay comes with one of the biggest rage of facilities of all the Byron Bay campsites on the list.
Obviously the big draw for travellers with families is the waterpark and swimming pool facilities, and to be honest anywhere with a pool t escape the Aussie heat is going to be a good option!
It’s slightly out of town (roughly the same distance as Red Devils and Ingenia is on the other side of Byron) but there’s a nice chilled cycle path and walkway, with Belongil Beach only a short walk from the campsite as well.
Glenn Villa Resort – **Our Top Pick**
Distance from Byron town centre = 350m
Camping Pitches from: $35
Powered Campervan pitches from: $45
Out of all the Byron Bay campsites this is the one we’d personally recommend.
Situated slap in the centre of town it’s about 100m from the central bus stop, restaurants, bars and shops – with the beach just a 5-10 minute walk depending on which Byron Bay beach you want to chill at.
It’s also one of the most chilled campsites we’ve stayed in Byron too and despite the central location you’ll get a solid nights sleep here.
Also make sure you ask about the weekly rates which work out great value.
First Sun Holiday Park
Distance from Byron town centre = 50m
Camping Pitches from: $50
Powered Campervan pitches from: $58
If you’re looking for the campsite closest to the action you then First Sun Holiday Park wins out for most central location, it back onto one of the main strips in Byron with restaurants, shops and bars, as well as just being around the corner from the Byron Beach Hotel – one of the most popular bars and music venues in town.
But as an added sweetener it also has direct access to the beach too – with The Wreck just in front.
As with most of the campsites in town you’ll be within easy reach of numerous surf spots, but the punchy lefts and rights of the Wreck (named after the iconic shipwreck which juts out of the water) is the closest.
It’s not the cheapest, but you are paying for that location.
2 camp kitchens
Reflections Holiday Park
Distance from Byron town centre = 1km
Camping Pitches from: $60
Powered Campervan pitches from: $68
Although this is one of the most expensive options when it comes to Byron Bay campsites the location is pretty spot on – and the site runs straight onto Clarkes Beach.
Surfers will be stoked as they’re in walking distances of the Pass – a world famous right hand point break, as well as numerous beach breaks along Main Beach, The Wreck and of course out front at Clarkes too.
You’ll be an easy 5 minute walk into the main town of Byron – either via the beach or pathways – so an array of bars, restaurants and shops are easily within reach.
Distance from Byron town centre = 2.7km
Camping Pitches from: $30
Powered Campervan pitches from: $35
The original festival site of Bluesfest and Splendour in the Grass, Belongil Fields is just opposite Discovery Parks and is one of the most budget friendly options, especially for those travelling solo as there are discounts for single pitch occupancy.
To be honest the price reflect the facilities and it’s pretty basic overall, so you get what you pay for, but worth mentioning for those who are looking to base themselves in Byron but want to keep accommodation costs down.
Arts Factory Lodge
Distance from Byron town centre = 1km
Camping Pitches from: $18
Campervan pitches from: $18
Ok so this is a slight curveball in the Byron Bay campsites list as the Arts Factory is actually a hostel not a campsite!
That being said though they do have a campground within the hostel grounds and those with camper vans can rent a parking space to stay the night – which also gives you access to all the hostel facilities too.
Nicknamed “The Jungle” the in-house campground is definitely a bit rough around the edges with some long term residents pimping out their setup with full double beds, gazebos and more!
A great option for backpackers wanting to be social but also on a bit of a budget – spaces are limited (max 40) so it’s best to call and book in advance – also they do cap the length of stay during peak periods so keep that in mind too.
This popular town in Northern Queensland is best known as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, but there’s heaps of other epic things to see and do in the area too – so make sure you pencil in plenty of time to tick all of these off your bucket list…
8 Of The Best Things To Do In Cairns
1. Snorkel or Dive The Great Barrier Reef
Without a doubt, one of the best things to do in Cairns has to be spending a day on the Great Barrier Reef – it’s one of the most visited natural wonders in the world and should be high up on everyones Australia bucket list!
Cairns has the biggest choice for Barrier Reef tours too – so whether you’re looking for a relaxing family day out, a bit more fun and party with a backpacker crew or want to go all out with an overnight dive boat there’s plenty to choose from.
You’ll have an epic experience whether your snorkel or scuba dive – but if you’ve never tried diving before then it’s also a great opportunity to do an Intro dive and go find Nemo!
With the epic Atherton Tablelands behind the city and the reef in front – a scenic flight is one of the best ways to take in all the natural beauty of Cairns and beyond.
From a taster 15 minute scenic flight right through to an hour long that takes in the coastline up to Cape Tribulation and over the reef there’s an option for every budget.
You can also combine it with your day trip to the reef too – with the popular Snorkel & Helicopter package combining a helicopter flight out to the reef and day of snorkelling!
4. Bungy Jump
Time to get your adrenaline on the go now with Australias only bungjy jump! Run by the inventors of the bungy – AJ Hackett – the Cairns bungy jump is over water, s you can choose a refreshing head dip on your way down!
If it fits into your schedule their legendary Sunday Sessions combine discounted bungy jumps with pumping tunes and happy hour drinks – an epic day out for sure!
5. Do The Cairns Waterfall Loop
Behind Cairns is the stunning Atherton Tablelands, which is also home to the Cairns Waterfall loop. An epic drive that packs in heaps of amazing landscapes and waterfalls too.
You’ll even get to recreate the famous Loreal hair flick advert – which is also the waterfall that Peter Andre filmed his “Mysterious Girl” music video at too!
Choose to self drive with a small group or jump on one of our Cairns Waterfall tours for heaps of fun with travellers from all over the world.
6. Relax on the Kuranda Scenic Railway
Fancy something a bit more chilled? Well the Kuranda Scenic Railway is one of the best things to do in Cairns.
You’ll wind through the valleys, deep into the rainforest, learning heaps about the history of the building of the railway, before spending a relaxing afternoon in the town of Kuranda. You can even combine it with the Skyrail too – giving you spectacular views across the rainforest canopy.
7. Party The Night Away!
When it comes to travelling the East Coast of Australia, Cairns is generally either the start or finish point for most peoples Australia adventures – which means the nightlife in Cairns is pumping!
Dance the night away at the famous Gilligans backpacker bar and club (which also has a hostel if you want to be in amongst it!) or get up on the tables at the equally famous Woolshed…or explore heaps of other late night spots around town!
8. Bounce Up To Cape Tribulation
Okay, so admittedly this isn’t in Cairn itself – but if you’re short on time a day trip from Cairns to Cape Tribulation is an easy way to fit Cape Trib into your itinerary.
The only place on the planet where two world heritage sites meet – the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef – it’s one of the most stunning places in the whole of Australia.
Packed with waterfalls, wildlife and rainforest a trip up to Cape Tribulation (and quick stop en route in Port Douglas) is well worth fitting into your Cairns portion of the trip
From free options to campgrounds with all the latest facilities – here’s everything you need to know about heading to Rainbow Beach…
The Rainbow Beach Camping Guide
Best time to visit Rainbow Beach
Rainbow Beach is located in Queensland, Australia, and you can visit any time of the year and experience decent weather all year round.
The summer months between December and February will bring you temperatures between 21C and 35C (70F-102F), and the winter months between June and August produce temperatures between 10C and 22C (50F-72F). When you visit may depend on if you enjoy cooler or warmer temperatures.
Whether you are camping, exploring, or hanging out on the beach, visiting Rainbow Beach in the summer months is an excellent choice. While the temperature is hot, the bush and coastal climate, not to mention the beautiful ocean, can provide welcome shade and areas to cool off.
Top things to do in Rainbow Beach
The adventures you can have in Rainbow Beach are plentiful. Whether you enjoy adventures on land or water, there are many activities to choose from.
On the water
Kayaking with dolphins: Take a kayak tour in the ocean waters that are home to hundreds of dolphins, turtles, and other sea creatures.
Surf lessons: While anyone can bring their board and ride the amazing waves of the Queensland coast, you don’t have to know how to surf to enjoy your time on the water. If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to surf, this is your chance to have a wonderful experience.
Paddle boarding: If surfing and kayaking aren’t your thing, you can still enjoy some time in the water with stand up paddle boarding. Rent a paddle board for as long as you want, and enjoy the sun, water, sea life, and beautiful scenery.
4WD tours: Off-roading can be an exciting adventure that you can do yourself or with your friends and family. There are multiple 4WD tours that take you along the beach and across the sand dunes.
Hiking and walking: The scenery in and around Rainbow Beach is phenomenal, and you can walk the beach, dunes, bush, or over hills and mountains to catch the views of the Queensland coast. If you are up early enough or take an evening stroll, you can catch the sunrise or sunset.
Skydiving: For those who love a thrill, skydiving is here to cater to your needs. For some, a walk on the beach or swim in the water just isn’t enough. Take the plunge over the coast and witness the spectacular views of the colorful sands of Rainbow Beach and its surrounding magnificence.
Horse riding: Whether you are a horse-riding pro or have yet to see a horse this close before, you can take a sunset horse-riding tour and take a calming walk along Rainbow Beach. This horse riding tour is beginner friendly, and the horses are friendly as well.
Fraser Island From Rainbow Beach
And of course one of the main reasons people head off on a Rainbow Beach camping trip is to hit up one of the best tours on the East Coast – Fraser Island!
The worlds largest sand island is an epic place to explore and there are plenty of Fraser Island tours departing from Rainbow Beach.
If you are considering setting up a day camp or camping overnight, here are some free camping spots in and around Rainbow Beach.
Tiaro Memorial Park
Tiaro Memorial Park is a great choice for a free Rainbow Beach camping area, but make sure you get there early in the day if you are visiting during a popular time.
There are about 20 spots on the site, and there are BBQ areas, toilets, drinking water, and convenient lighting around the campgrounds. Kids can play at the nearby park, and pets are allowed, so you can bring your furry friend with you. And if you didn’t bring enough food with you or want to get away from camp for a while, there is a café and other shops nearby.
Petrie Park is another free Rainbow Beach camping choice that offers campsites near the water and other convenient amenities.
There are a limited number of spots on the site, so like other free campgrounds, you should arrive early enough to claim your spot for the day or overnight. The grounds include toilets, BBQ areas, and are child and pet friendly.
A nice amenity to this campground is being near the water. You can fish from the shore, or you can use the supplied boat ramp to take out your small boat or kayak to enjoy the water or fish with family and friends.
Best Rainbow Beach camp sites
Inskip Peninsula Rainbow Beach Camping
The Inskip Peninsula is a great stretch of land that provides four campgrounds to choose from. Each campground offers a variety of amenities and facilities that are tailored to different types of campers.
MV Beagle Camping Area
Price per night: Camping permit ($6.65 per person per night or $26.60 per family per night – two adults and up to six children)
Top facilities: Sheltered camping area near the beach, marine park, recreation area, fishing, campfires. Sandy surfaces, tent camping only, generators allowed, non-flush toilets, bins, open area without defined sites.
MV Natone Camping Area
Price per night: Camping permit ($6.65 per person per night or $26.60 per family per night – two adults and up to six children)
Top facilities: Secluded camping with shady sheltered areas, non-flush toilets on site, tent camping only, campfires allowed, generators allowed, pets allowed on leash. Fish from the beaches or bring a kayak and explore the area by foot or 4WD vehicle.
MV Sarawak Camping Area
Price per night: Camping permit ($6.65 per person per night or $26.60 per family per night – two adults and up to six children)
Top facilities: Largest Inskip camping area with tents, caravans, campervans, and camper trailer camping allowed. Non-flush toilets on site, campfires allowed, generators allowed, and pets allowed on leash. Fish from the beach or relax in the shaded areas of Moreton Bay ash.
SS Dorrigo Camping Area
Price per night: Camping permit ($6.65 per person per night or $26.60 per family per night – two adults and up to six children)
Top facilities: Many amenities at this location, with all kinds of camping allowed, including tents, caravans, campervans, camper trailers, and motorhomes. Non-flush toilets on site, campfires allowed, generators allowed, and pets allowed on leash. Choose a camp site with an ocean view or a sheltered area more inland. Fish, walk, and drive to the recreation area and marine park.
Price per night: Camping permit ($6.65 per person per night or $26.60 per family per night – two adults and up to six children)
Top facilities: There are 60 sites to choose from at this campground, but you cannot book a specific site – first come, first served. Lots of shade, toilets and hot showers, far enough away from the beach to avoid strong winds, shaded and secluded campsites. Use the recreational day-use area and be one with nature in this popular bush camping area. Tens and camper trailers allowed.
Price per night: Camping permit ($6.65 per person per night or $26.60 per family per night – two adults and up to six children) as well as a vehicle access permit (about $30-$35 per week)
Top facilities: You can camp on the beach at this popular campground, and you can enjoy an open area without separately defined sites. Camp in a tent next to your vehicle or in the open, or bring your off-road caravan or camper trailer. Camp on sand or grass. No nearby toilets (bring your own), open fires permitted, low-decibel generators allowed, beach access by 4WD vehicles only.
Harry’s Hut Camping
Price per night: Camping permit ($6.65 per person per night or $26.60 per family per night – two adults and up to six children)
Top facilities: This campground is located in the bush and gives you a woodsy feel. You can reach the camping area by walking, 4WD vehicle, or canoe/kayak/small boat. You can camp in a tent or a camper trailer and camp on sand or grass. There is untreated water, toilets, picnic shelter with tables, day-use area, and canoe landing access points. No open fires or generators allowed, and advance books are required, especially for holiday periods.
Where to eat in Rainbow Beach
There are plenty of choices of restaurants and other food places in Rainbow Beach. Here are some favorites among locals and visitors.
Arcobaleno on the Beach: Classic Italian food restaurant with a cozy and casual atmosphere and many choices of pizza and pasta.
Rainbow Beach Pizza: Casual pizzeria with other top-quality Italian favorites, with outdoor seating and a casual dining style with great service.
Brent’s Burgers: Casual burger joint that is very child-friendly and great for larger groups of people. Lots of choices on the menu besides burgers, and some terrific sweet potato chips, onion rings, and other fried goodies.
Café Jilarty at Rainbow: Many styles of food at this café and fancier dishes without a higher price. You can find Greek food, Italian food, breakfast lunch and dinner, coffee, smoothies, chips and salad, and at times you can enjoy free live music.
The Deck: Tapas bar and grill with burgers and fries, and other cooked meals. Very casual and friendly place to eat. Catch a football game on the big screen television and enjoy the beer garden with a view.
Busy planning your Australia trip? Not sure what to take with you? Here's what should be top of your Australia packing list - and what to leave behind!
If you haven’t travelled long term before, packing can be a bit of a nightmare, especially if you’re heading down under for a whole year to work and travel and putting together your Australia packing list.
What do I take?
What do I leave behind?
I don’t have enough space for this!
will I need that!
I have no doubt all of these thoughts will be running through your head at one point or another during the packing process!
So to help you nail your Australia packing list here are the things I recommend you take to the land down under…
Australia Packing List – What You Need & What You Don’t
What You Think You Need – Half It!
In my experience less is more when it comes to travelling.
A well-used saying about packing is to lay out all your clothes and money on the bed – then take away half the clothes and double the money!
And it’s pretty true!
When I first went to Australia I took a 60+20L rucksack.
It was totally rammed and a nightmare to repack, let alone fit new stuff into! I barely used half the stuff in it, and by the time I’d left Australia 12 months later I’d given heaps of it away or donated it to charity shops.
So here’s what I’d suggest for your Australia packing list, or for any long term travels, really.
The stuff on the list might not seem like enough, but remember: if you REALLY need those extra few t-shirts, dresses or shoes you can always pick up some new stuff in Australia, and by then you’ll be more aware of how much spare space you have in your bag!
Clothing is obviously the biggest item when it comes to your Australia packing list and will be what takes up the most amount of space too.
Keep it streamline, remember you don’t need pack for every occasion and you can always pick up items along the way too – especially as the seasons change…
7 x t-shirts
2 x boardies
2 x shorts
2 x flannel shirts
1 x jumper
7 x underwear
2 x socks
1 x flipflops (aka thongs!)
1 x closed shoes
1 x trousers
Yup, clothing wise I’ve packed pretty light, but remember it’s easier to do washing more often than it is to lug a huge backpack full of stuff around! From a guy’s — and many girls’ — perspective, this should be enough to tick over.
If you do want to pack extras, keep them aside and figure out if you have enough space after your preliminary pack.
Like it or not technology is now part of the travelling adventure and I’ve no doubt you’ll all be taking some gadgets along for the ride. Again streamline it and if you’re buying new travel gear investing in tech that’s lightweight and compact is the way forward…
Phone + charger
Laptop + charger
Camera + charger
External hard drive
Travel plug adaptor
Not everyone is going to have a laptop in tow, but I’d suggest taking a hard drive anyway so you can backup your photos along the way and also copy some movies and photos from your travel buddies!
These should be pretty simple…
Paracetamol/ibuprofen/your painkiller of choice
Bodywash (travel size)
Towel (travel towels are a good start but you’ll probably buy a proper one
…things like shampoo, conditioner and suncream can be bought easily at any supermarket in Australia, so there’s no point dragging it halfway across the world.
Of course, girls, you might have some extras in your makeup bag and what not, but these are the bare minimum essentials I’d recommend everyone pack.
If you find you have some spare space these are some other useful items I’d suggest packing. You could also buy them once you’re out in Oz.
Snorkel and mask
Multi-plug socket (so you only need one travel plug for multiple devices!)
Basic first aid kit
I’ve tested out a heap of backpacks over the last few years and there are a lot of great brands to choose from.
Currently though I’m using the Osprey Farpoint 40+10L and it’s the perfect balance of size, comfort and build.
Admittedly it’s not the cheapest option on the market, but if you’re looking to travel light and with a solid bag it’s a great investment for your travels.
Again the key point with your Australia packing list here is not to fill all the space simply because you have it!
Give yourself some extra empty space for picking things up along the way too – there’s nothing worse than realising you can’t buy that awesome keepsake because you simply dont have enough room!
Trying to figure out the best things to do in Yamba and whether it's worth a visit? Well it deinfitely is and these 11 things should be on your to do list!
One of our favourite, off the beaten track spots along the East Coast of Australia has to be Yamba – and there are plenty of things to see and do in Yamba to convince you it’s worth adding into your trip!
From world class waves to dolphins and coastal walks, it’s time to wind down with some chilled out Yamba vibes…
Awesome Things To Do In Yamba
Learn To Surf
With Yamba life revolving around the beach one of the most popular things to do in Yamba is to learn to surf! The rolling, sandy bottom beach breaks are one some of the best spots to learn to surf in Australia.
Turners Beach is a favourite, with its sheltered conditions and is the favourite spot of Surf Camp Down Under – who we highly recommend!
alongside learning to surf, Yamba is a hot spot for experienced surfers too. So if you’re looking for some of the best and most uncrowded spots in Australia you’re in luck!
The breakwater at Turners, open A frames at Pippies or of course the famed point break at Angourie are just 3 of the many spots around town.
All the surf spots in Yamba can handle a solid swell, so be prepared for some pumping surf if the conditions allow!
Enjoy A Sunset Sailing Trip
With incredible sunsets, what better spot to enjoy them from than on the water? There are plenty of options for hiring boats in Yamba (the marina is a popular leisure sailing spot) and also a whole array of local, organised tours you can jump on too.
Kick back with a cold beer and keep and eye out for the local dolphins too!
Hit The Coastal Walks
If you fancy a stroll then Yamba has some incredible coastal walks you can take advantage of. Whether you want a quick loop from town up to the lighthouse or a full blown day trip out to the point at Angourie, make sure you pack plenty of water, sunscreen and of course you camera too!
With so much epic coastline there’s plenty of scope for an epic day of fishing in Yamba too. Again hire a boat and head out on the open water or enjoy some beach or cliff fishing all around town.
There are a few bait shops and fishing shops as you come into Yamba so stock up for the day and cast out.
Relax On Some Empty Beaches
Australia is famous for its beaches, but you might find many of them (such as Bondi or Byron Bay) are actually pretty busy. Yamba on the other hadn’t serves up plenty of slices of sand you can enjoy with hardly a sole in sight – especially if you have a car or campervan to explore the local area.
Watch The Dolphins
Yamba has a pretty big local dolphin population so make sure you keep an eye out for them whenever you’re near the ocean – especially in the surf! On elf the best places to spot them is around sunset on the breakwater by Turners Beach as they follow the fishing boats!
The Best Pub Balcony In Australia?!
If you fancy a cold beer, wine or even a cheeky pub meal then make sure you head up to the Pacific Hotel – which has probably the best pub balcony we’ve ever chilled out on!
With epic views cliff views across Main Beach and the surrounding coastline you’ll be hard pushed for a better afternoon drinking spot!
Tackle Shanes Legendary Tour
For backpackers heading to Yamba we’d highly recommend a stay with Shane and Justin at Yamba YHA – who will instantly make you feel like family! And as part of your stay make sure you sign up to Shanes Legendary Tour, we wont divulge much more than that…just trust us!
Take A Dip In The Blue and Green Pools
Fancy cooling off? Well the Blue Pools are an awesome spot to head for some freshwater swimming. Both also offer some cliff jumping – but we’d recommend sticking to the small ones at the Green Pools as they’re much safer!
Get Some Pics Of The Lighthouse
Although not as impressive as spots like Cape Byron Lighthouse or some on the Great Ocean Road, Yamba Lighthouse is still worth a visit and a good spot to stop when you’re heading along the coast trails too!
Got any other things to do in Yamba you’d recommend?
Has Corona Virus affected your current or up coming travel plans with us? Well rest assured we're here to help...
Looking for our current terms & conditions including updated cancellation policies, date changes and travel credit? Find our full terms and conditions here. The Covid-19 updates are at the bottom!
UPDATE 1st June 2020:
Internal travel restrictions within Australia (especially within the state you’re currently located) are now relaxing, and many of our suppliers are starting to reopen slowly from 1st June – contact us if you’d like to book any trips or chat about what’s on offer!
The Corona Virus pandemic is sweeping across the world at a rapid pace and all over the world peoples travel plans are being affected. So if you’re currently on the road or have an upcoming trip with us we wanted to give you a little bit of advice and assure that our team is on hand to help you out!
Can You Still Travel To Australia?
At the moment, in theory yes – Australia is still open for business, however there is now a mandatory isolation period for all arrivals (including Australians) of 14 days. So if you do decide to travel to Australia, you’ll need to be prepared for that.
UPDATE 19TH MARCH 2020:
Australia has now stopped entry for all international travellers (Australian and New Zealand residents not included) from 9pm on 20th March.
What About Elsewhere?
At the moment, there are travel restrictions in place for pretty much all destinations, with New Zealand having a mandatory 14 day self-isolation period, Sri Lanka suspending all incoming flights, and Indonesia no longer issuing visas on arrival without health certificates.
The situation is changing daily and even hourly, so always check before you travel and stay up to date with the situation
UPDATE: Many countries are no longer accepting international arrivals (including Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and beyond)
What if you’re already in Australia?
If you’re already in Australia, pretty much all our suppliers are operating as usual, however they’re taking extra measures to help with safety and many are now running smaller groups as part of this.
As always please call 24 hours before your tours to reconfirm them as things are changing on a daily basis.
UPDATE 1: At the moment all trips and tours are on hold, please contact us to change your dates FOC or to arrange a refund. Hopefully things will clear up soon!
UPDATE 2: Internal travel restrictions within Australia (especially within the state you’re currently located) are now relaxing, and many of our suppliers are starting to reopen slowly from 1st June – contact us if you’d like to book any trips or chat about what’s on offer!
What If You Need To Cancel?
We understand that many of our customers who are planning on travelling or who are already travelling (both in Australia, New Zealand, and beyond) are affected by travel restrictions or may want to return home due to the COVID-19/Corona Virus pandemic.
Our team are working hard to make sure that we help you out as much as possible – so if you need to cancel or have any questions, you can email us on [email protected] or WhatsApp on +44 740 182 7447 and we’ll be happy to help.
As you can imagine though, we’re getting quite a few requests at the moment so please be patient and we’ll be there for you ASAP!
In the mean time guys, please be safe, look after each other, and take precautions to keep yourselves healthy.
From Chris and the RTW Backpackers team
Last updated: 19th March 2020
Please note things are changing on an hourly basis so check with your government for the latest travel restrictions before/if you decide to travel
On the hunt for the best Great Barrier Reef Tours and not sure what options are out there or how to pick? We're not surprised - the Barrier Reef is one of the top bucket list ticks for any Australia trip and there are heaps of options to choose from. Day trips, dive boats, dive courses, scenic flights...a combination of them...it's all on offer! So to help you decide which Great Barrier Reef tour is best for you here's a run down of the options and our personal favourites... The Best Great Barrier Reef Tours - Which Should You Pick? Great Barrier Reef Snorkelling From $140 Great Barrier Reef snorkelling tours are by far the most popular ways to see the Barrier Reef - which run out of Cairns daily (weather permitting!) and these are the best choice for those on a limited time frame but also those looking for a budget friendly way to check out the barrier reef too. Our personal favourite for is a Great Barrier Reef day trip with the Deep Sea Divers Den - with their snorkel package coming in at $140AUD, which is great value for money. You’ll kick back on their beautiful and spacious boat, enjoy unlimited snorkelling at a variety of dive sites and feast on their lunchtime buffet. If you’re looking for something even more memorable and have a bit of extra budget to play with then the “Get High & Dive Package” is the way to go. This epic day trip includes unlimited snorkelling, an introductory scuba dive and even a scenic helicopter flight back to Cairns - it doesn't get much more action packed than that! Diving The Great Barrier Reef - Day Trips From $210 For anyone interested in scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef holds
We’re not surprised – the Barrier Reef is one of the top bucket list ticks for any Australia trip and there are heaps of options to choose from. Day trips, dive boats, dive courses, scenic flights…a combination of them…it’s all on offer!
So to help you decide which Great Barrier Reef tour is best for you here’s a run down of the options and our personal favourites…
The Best Great Barrier Reef Tours – Which Should You Pick?
Great Barrier Reef Snorkelling
Great Barrier Reef snorkelling tours are by far the most popular ways to see the Barrier Reef – which run out of Cairns daily (weather permitting!) and these are the best choice for those on a limited time frame but also those looking for a budget friendly way to check out the barrier reef too.
For anyone interested in scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef holds heaps of appeal. For experienced divers it’s a huge bucket list tick and it’s also the ideal place to try scuba diving for the first time with an introductory scuba dive.
Again our pick of the bunch is with Deep Sea Divers Den who have a great range of dive moorings to choose from, a friendly crew and even an underwater photographer who’ll help snap your next Facebook profile picture next to Nemo!
Their dive trips include all gear, however we strongly recommend paying the extra for a dive guide – you’ll get even more out of your time underwater.
For those looking for an introductory scuba dive their crew of experienced and certified instructors will teach you all the basics needed to be safe under the ocean and guide you around. With a max depth of 12m it’s the perfect way to test out if scuba diving is for you and discover some of the amazing marine life that calls this part of Australia home.
Learn To Scuba Dive On The Great Barrier Reef & Cairns
Either way you’ll work your way through the theory lessons, written exam and pool skills before putting your knowledge into practice with the open water modules.
On successful completion you’ll be a fully certified open water scuba diver with a world recognised certification!
Diving The Great Barrier Reef – Liveaboards
For those already certified scuba divers and wanting to make the most of their time in Cairns a Great Barrier Reef Dive Liveaboard is the ultimate option – allowing you to squeeze in even more dives and even some night diving too.
Trust us, jumping into the water with a torch and surrounded by reef sharks is something you’ll never forget for all the right reasons!
Sure it’s not the most budget friendly of all the Great Barrier Reef tours on offer, but it’s certainly the way to go if you want to pack in heaps of diving!
If you’re really serious about diving and have the budget then a longer trip out to the Cod Hole and Ribbon Reefs is well worth the splash (pun intended!) where you’ll discover pristine dive sites, less crowds and a whole array of incredible marine life – including the famous Giant Potato Cod.
Scenic Flight Over The Great Barrier Reef
Don’t fancy getting wet or looking for some alternative Great Barrier Reef tours that check out this natural wonder from a different perspective? Well a scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef will pack your camera full of incredible photos and give you a whole new appreciation of the vast size of this natural wonder.
From a quick scenic helicopter flight to a a longer scenic aeroplane flight there are a number of options for all time frames and budgets.
Keep your eyes peeled for manta rays cruising along the currents, turtles chilling on the reefs and of course the annual whale migration too.
Skydive Over The Great Barrier Reef
If you like your day trips with a bit more adrenaline then why not take in views across the reef from a skydive at Mission Beach?
Available as a day trip from Cairns or of course from Mission Beach itself, it’s the most popular jump zone in Australia for a reason!
With a guaranteed beach landing and stunning views across the coastline, ocean and reef this is certainly one of our favourite bucket list items that the East Coast has to offer!
So you've booked your flights, you've got your visa all sorted and you're super stoked to be visiting Australia for the first time! You could just land and wing it from there, but trust me when I say that after a long haul flight covering more than a handful of time zones you'll be in no mood to lug your backpack around whatever city you land in trying to find a place to stay. So take my advice and prepare a little! There are a few things that you can sort before you land that will make your arrival heaps smoother and stress free. You want to start your Australian adventure on the right foot and enjoy the first days of your trip. Visiting Australia For The First Time? 5 Helpful Things You'll Need To Know! Airport Pickup The first thing you're going to need to deal with when you arrive in Oz is the airport, or more specifically how the hell you're going to leave it! Some destinations, such as Cairns and Melbourne, have great shuttle bus options that are the cheapest and easiest way to get into the city. Many can drop you at some central accommodation. Check out the following sites for some more info: Cairns - Cairns Airport Shuttle Brisbane - Con-X-ion Byron Bay - Byron Easy Bus Sydney - Airport Connect Melbourne - Sky Bus Sydney, on the other hand, has a great train service that runs direct from the airport into the centre of the city and it's super easy and convenient, especially if you're staying at Wakeup or Sydney Central YHA, which are right opposite! There's no need to book in advance and it'll set you back around $17AUD one way. Accommodation Let's face it: you're going to be pretty overwhelmed,
So you’ve booked your flights, you’ve got your visa all sorted and you’re super stoked to be visiting Australia for the first time!
You could just land and wing it from there, but trust me when I say that after a long haul flight covering more than a handful of time zones you’ll be in no mood to lug your backpack around whatever city you land in trying to find a place to stay.
So take my advice and prepare a little!
There are a few things that you can sort before you land that will make your arrival heaps smoother and stress free. You want to start your Australian adventure on the right foot and enjoy the first days of your trip.
Visiting Australia For The First Time? 5 Helpful Things You’ll Need To Know!
The first thing you’re going to need to deal with when you arrive in Oz is the airport, or more specifically how the hell you’re going to leave it!
Some destinations, such as Cairns and Melbourne, have great shuttle bus options that are the cheapest and easiest way to get into the city. Many can drop you at some central accommodation.
Byron Bay – Byron Easy Bus Sydney – Airport Connect Melbourne – Sky Bus
Sydney, on the other hand, has a great train service that runs direct from the airport into the centre of the city and it’s super easy and convenient, especially if you’re staying at Wakeup or Sydney Central YHA, which are right opposite!
There’s no need to book in advance and it’ll set you back around $17AUD one way.
Let’s face it: you’re going to be pretty overwhelmed, tired and not functioning at top speed when you land, so you’ll be wanting have a bed lined up pretty fast!
With that in mind it pays to pre-book your accommodation before you land. You’ll get the best rates and hopefully it’ll mean getting your hostel of choice.
But don’t just book one night (unless you have solid plans to bounce the next day).
Book two or more.
There’s no worse feeling than getting woken up on your first full day in Australia at 10am by hostel staff telling your sad jet lagged self it’s time to check out!
We can book a huge range of hostels all across Australia so chat to our travel experts to find the right fit for you – whether that’s partying at Nomads or enjoying a more chilled vibe at YHA.
If you’re landing in Australia I’m going to assume that you already kind of know where you want to head, or you’re reading this blog to help you figure that out. In which case, good times!
If you figure out your plan of attack before landing you can also get your travel options sorted before you land too, which knocks one thing to worry about off the list and gives you more time to enjoy the Aussie sunshine!
Those opting for the likes of Greyhound Australia, Oz Experience or Stray Australia can book your pass open-dated way before arriving.
If you’re hiring a car or campervan via the likes of Jucy, Travellers Autobarn or Britz, securing your dates before you arrive will mean you get your car/van of choice.
Pre-booking usually saves you a heap of dollar too!
If you’re going to be in Australia for a while it can be well worth grabbing a local SIM card if your phone is unlocked. The main phone networks in Australia are Optus, Vodafone, Virgin and Telstra.
I went with Optus, as they gave the best plan on mobile data for my iPhone. I went for the $2 daily bundle, which offered unlimited calls and text within Oz and 500MB of data per day, with the option of an auto bump to 1GB of data for an extra $2.
There are heaps of different pay as you go plans with all the networks, so shop around a bit and find the one that works best for you.
If You’re On A Working Holiday Visa
If you’re visiting Australia on a working holiday visa there are a few essentials that you’ll need to sort to kickstart your year working in Oz – some of which can be done before you even touch down, or simply sort them once you’re in Australia.
Bank Account (personally I’d recommend Commonwealth for this)
Tax file number
SIM Card (see above for my advice on using Optus)
A polished CV
Of course if you don’t fancy booking all this stuff individually, there are a number of companies that offer Australia Arrival Packages, which bundle together everything you’ll need to get started.
Planning a trip to Sydney soon? Our Sydney Backpacker Guide covers everything from where to stay, to what to do - so you can make the most of your time!
Heading to Australia soon? Well Sydney has to be on your to do list, and our Sydney Backpacker Guide is quick and easy way to discover the best places to stay and what to do in Sydney!
Often mistaken as the capital of Australia (that’s Canberra if you didn’t already know!) Sydney is easily the most famous city in Oz and to be honest I don’t think I really need to sell you on visiting it!
Sydney is also many travellers first tastes of Australia as it’s busy international airport caters for flights worldwide and as a result it’s full of fresh travellers beginning their East Coast Adventure, so it’s the perfect place to meet heaps of new backpacker buddies to explore with.
It’s home to some of the countries most iconic sights too – with the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge topping the list, you can’t travel to Australia and not get a selfie in front of them!
But you knew that already hey?!
Sydney is much more than just those two structures though, as you’d expect from Australias biggest city there are plenty of things to keep you busy.
Whether you’re mingling with Wildlife at Toronga Zoo or Sydney Wildlife Park (the latter is my personal choice between the two) chilling over at Manly or taking a day trip to the gorgeous Blue Mountains as far as cities go Sydney isn’t half bad!
The Sydney Backpacker Guide – Where To Stay & What To Do
State = New South Wales
2638km from Cairns
Recommended Stay – At Least 4 nights
Xmas And New Year In Sydney
And of course it’s also a hugely popular destination for travellers putting together their xmas and new year plans too – with a beach BBQ on Bondi for xmas day and the world famous Sydney Harbour firework display on new years eve.
Just keep in mind if you are descending on Sydney for this period of the year it totally pays to book early, with many hostels booking out up to 6 months in advance – so don’t leave it too late!
Also if you’re heading up the coast after new year be aware that a flood of travellers will be doing the same so bus departures and the next couple of stops up the coast (most notably Byron Bay) tend to book out quickly too as a result, so plan ahead!
Best Things To Do In Sydney
Grab a photo of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge
New Year at the world famous Harbour firework display
Chill on Bondi Beach (bonus points for a xmas BBQ here!)
Complete the Coogee to Bondi coastal walk
Meet the locals at Sydney Wildlife Park
Or head across the water to Toronga Zoo
Grab a sunset and amazing views at the Sydney Sky Tower
Learn more about this iconic city on the Sydney Hop on, Hop Off Tour Bus